Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

believable—a wholly unlikely event.
World energy resources could, in all likelihood, meet even this doubtfi level of demand, but the prospective costs stagger the imagination. In finai cial terms, 1965 energy consumption was equivalent to almost $4 billion fc the Asian area. For the hypothetical projection in 2000, the bill would t more nearly $100 billion-implying a demand for foreign exchange that ca be produced only by exports and tourism. Thus, a reassuring global, physic outlook about resources (as Fisher and Potter caution) requires one to pa scant attention to geographic differences and the ability to pay.
In speculating about resource adequacy one can, on the other hand, easil be led to a much more pessimistic view than circumstances suggest. E; ceedingly pessimistic projections can be, and have been, made by compoum ing projected world population with current per capita resource use in d veloped countries. Whereas this may serve to highlight the outer limits ( conditions that could some day prevail, it is well to keep in mind that (; such a development would occur only in association with levels of per capii income now prevailing in high income countries but which, as indicate above, are unlikely to be reached for a great many decades; and (b) there little reason to believe that the mix of materials in these countries will in an way parallel that prevailing in the developed countries. On the contrary, it quite likely, for example, that developing countries will skip the "coal ar steel age" and take off into the chemical, and later into the nuclear, age ; much earlier stages of their development than they would if they approx mated the historical sequences of the developed countries.
The probability is small that the less developed countries will be in an way carbon copies, in their materials usage, of western Europe or Norl America. From this view, assessing the capacity of any specific country ( area to obtain needed resources may yield in time quite different and perha] more encouraging results. By implication, such considerations also put in different light the often-voiced complaint that the high income countrie most prominently the United States, account for only a small share of tr world's population but consume a major share of annual raw materials pr duction. Apart from the fact that such consumption represents, in foreiŁ trade, a major source of income for the exporting countries, it is quite pos:g" is in many instances not readily apparent.